CATONSVILLE, MD (February 4, 2016) -- Black Lace, a cat who is at least 22 years old and who lives at Charlestown, is said to be the world's oldest cat living in a retirement community. She may also be the oldest cat anywhere when factoring in several "lost years" in her past.
Her owner, Joy Price, got her in a pet store in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The store manager said the black cat with white markings was a neutered male named Fred. A trip to the veterinarian, however, revealed the cat was a female who gave birth to kittens.
"She purred as soon as I held her," said Price, "so I decided to take her home with me."
The veterinarian also said Price's new domestic short-hair cat was a least four years old -- perhaps several years older since she had been abandoned as a kitten.
"She was a street cat so I gave her a street woman's name: Black Lace," said Price, a former social worker. "She has been a loving and caring cat for as long as we have been together."
Black Lace and Price lived in New Mexico for 14 years. They have been at Charlestown for the past four years. This makes Black Lace 22 years old as best as can be determined.
Black Lace's "lost years" as a stray could easily put her age closer to 26 years, which would rival that of Corduroy, a cat in Oregon currently acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records to be the world's oldest.
Black Lace, who is six pounds, enjoys playing with her Bizzy Balls. She "grazes" at her dry and wet food and is fond of water. She likes to watch television at nights with Price.
"She wakes me up in the mornings," said Price, "and she likes to sit on my lap in the afternoons."
Black Lace is a fiercely independent woman -- much like her owner. They each march to their own drum, or as in Black Lace's case to her own catnip.
"Black Lace has enriched my life in so many ways," said Price. "It is hard to find the right words to describe it."